Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly is expected to undergo surgery following the return of oral cancer.
His wife, Jill, says the cancer is aggressive and starting to spread.
The 54-year-old former Buffalo Bills star is being treated in New York City.
Brother Dan Kelly tells The Associated Press on Tuesday that doctors are leaning toward surgery on Thursday or perhaps April 1.
Kelly's Buffalo doctors said March 14 the return of the cancer was discovered when he came for follow-up tests after surgery to remove cancerous cells last year.
Dan Kelly says his brother is humbled by an outpouring of prayers posted on social media.
Jill Kelly has been providing updates on Twitter and her blog.
Jim Kelly retired following the 1996 football season.